When a DUI defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial, the judge may put the defendant on probation as part of the sentence. Probation is "the suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release in the community under the supervision of a probation officer," per California Penal Code Section 1203(a). In other words, the defendant is released into the community with certain terms or conditions that must be fulfilled.
In misdemeanor drunk driving cases, the judge has the authority to grant probation without referring the defendant to a probation officer. This means the probationer reports directly to the court, not to a probation officer. This is often called court probation, summary probation, or informal probation.
A judge has discretion to impose any reasonable terms of probation that are reasonably related to the underlying offense. However, the standard terms and conditions on a first time, misdemeanor drunk driving conviction in San Diego County include, but are not limited to: 1.) Paying the fines and fees to the court; 2.) Enrolling and completing an alcohol program per the recommendation of the SAAU Unit; 3.) Not driving with a measureable amount of alcohol or drugs in the system; 4.) Submitting to a drug or alcohol test at the request of law enforcement; 5.) Not violating the law; 6.) Public work service; and, 7.) Attending a MADD panel class.
In many misdemeanor matters, probation is a three year term. San Diego Courts commonly order five years of probation on drunk driving cases. Within that period of time, if a probationer fails to comply with any of the specific terms of his or her probation, the judge will revoke the probation and the clock will stop running on the probation. The probationer will be notified either by a letter or a warrant may be issued, ordering the probationer to come before the judge.
On the day of court, the probationer may admit the violation or request a hearing contesting the violation. If there is an admission or if the probationer is found in violation of the terms of probation after a hearing, the judge has authority to punish the probationer. The punishment may include modifying the terms of probation by adding additional requirements or ordering him or her to serve time in jail for a period not to exceed the maximum possible jail sentence under the charges plead to or found guilty of.
If you are probation for driving under the influence and you have received notice of a probation violation or warrant is out for your arrest, do not handle this matter on your own. Consult an exclusively, DUI defense firm to properly advise you on your rights, negotiate on your behalf with the judge, and represent your interests in court.
The The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, aggressively defends all drunk driving matters. For your free consultation, call 619-260-1122 or use the "Contact Us" form on this page.